Thursday afternoon notes (football, hoops tidbits)

We ran a story on tight end Marcus Smith in today’s paper that a lot of UNT fans have probably come across by this afternoon, but I thought it was worth linking on the blog as well. Smith is a great story. He has gone through two knee surgeries since late in his high school career and lost his father earlier this year.

Smith has a ton of potential and started to capitalize on it last week when he caught three passes in UNT’s win over Middle Tennessee. Here’s a link to the story.

UNT also pointed out a couple of notes of interest this week that I thought were worth discussing on the blog. UNT does not have a player who has won a game in Louisiana in his college career. Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe have been pretty good the last couple of years. And LSU? Forget about it.

UNT will have a chance to turn things around Saturday when the Mean Green faces Louisiana Tech.

Tech recruits Texas, which makes the game all the more important. Games against teams like ULL and ULM used to be important for UNT’s recruiting efforts in Louisiana. UNT has since abandoned the state. In an interesting side note, after all the time and effort UNT spent in Louisiana, UNT doesn’t have a single player on its two-deep from Louisiana heading into the weekend.

Zach Orr should also pass the 300-mark in career tackles in the Mean Green’s game against the Bulldogs. The senior is sitting at 298. Orr is a terrific player. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football recently named him the best linebacker in Texas. He’s just as good of a guy as he is a player.

UNT will miss Orr next year, even if Oregon transfer Anthony Wallace turns out to be as good as the Mean Green hopes he can be.

And speaking of guys UNT will miss, Tony Mitchell’s monster block was one of the plays of the day yesterday:

Mitchell will need some time to adjust to playing in the NBA, but the raw talent that allows him to make that kind of play will help. It will help a lot.

And speaking of college basketball, the Coaches Top 25 Poll is out.

I took a quick glance and UNT doesn’t play anyone who received a vote, but it is interesting to note that former UNT head coach Johnny Jones’ LSU team received two votes. A lot of people questioned if he would be successful in Baton Rouge, which was just nuts. Things looks good for Jones now after a better-than-expected 19-win season, a top 10 recruiting class in 2013, a top 50 player in Garland’s Elbert Robinson anchoring what is now a top 40 class in 2014 and a top 10 player committed for 2015 in Ben Simmons.

And that in no way is an indication that I don’t think Tony Benford will do well at UNT. This is not a one-of-the-other proposition in terms of who one will think will do well in the long run.

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